четверг, 14 ноября 2019 г.

Ancient pottery fragment depicting female shaman found in Japan


A pottery fragment depicting a shaman with breasts has been found for the first time at a dig site here, shedding light on the religious role women played in ancient agriculture.

Ancient pottery fragment depicting female shaman found in Japan
An earthenware fragment showing a female shaman with arms extended
in a religious pose [Credit: Taku Hosokawa]
The figure on the artifact, dating to the first century BC, has her arms raised in what appears to be a pose to pray for bountiful harvests.

It was unearthed at the Shimizukaze archaeological site straddling Tawaramoto and Tenri in the prefecture, where burial-related and housing remains from the Yayoi Pottery Culture period (300 BC-AD 300) were also found.


While figures spreading or raising their arms appear on some of more than 40 earthenware paintings depicting a human from the Yayoi period found across Japan, the discovery is especially significant because it indicates that the individuals in such poses are invariably women.

Tawaramoto’s education board said that the earthenware piece measuring up to 16 centimeters wide and 12 cm long is believed to have been a section between the mouth and center of a large pot.

It was discovered at the former site of a river from the mid-Yayoi period when a 40-square-meter area was surveyed between May and June.

Ancient pottery fragment depicting female shaman found in Japan
Credit: Taku Hosokawa


The figure has wing-like sleeves, and the face has been illustrated with eyes, eyebrows, nose and mouth.

Spreading both arms is known as the “tamafuri” pose and is said to help revitalize and revive souls to pray for good harvests by giving vitality to rice plants.

Yoshiki Fukasawa, a visiting professor of archaeology at Tenri University, noted the possibility of the depicted woman having served as a shaman like noted Queen Himiko, who is mentioned in China’s “Gishi Wajinden” (Accounts of the Wa people, Records of Wei).

“The artifact was created 300 years earlier than the era of Himiko, who served as a priestess,” said Fukasawa. “The primary discovery shows that a tradition existed on the Japanese archipelago where women played a part in religious services, and that Himiko emerged against this historical background.”

Author: Takumi Okada | Source: The Asahi Shimbun [October 31, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

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